Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy

Anne Martens

You know how some parents watch MTV in the hopes of gaining some insight into their kids?Well, music is the great uniter, and I’ve been spending some time watching the Country Music Channel in an effort to gain some insight into red America.

I think it’s working as well for me as for those desperate parents.Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

All this reminds me that stereotypes become stereotypes because there’s a grain (or more) of truth in them, and that TV is probably not the best way to get an education.Hey, at least I’m trying.Please don’t make me listen to Jesus rock.

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    Sometimes you just have to listen to the music and ignore the lyrics. I do that quite often when listening to Puffy.

  • Tenskwatawa (unverified)
    <h1></h1> <h2>By coincidence, beside you on the desktop is this. From Which contains this:</h2>

    Thursday, November 4th, 2004 How the Far Right Built a Media Empire to Manufacture Consent We [Amy Goodman, Juan Gonzalez] speak with veteran investigative journalist Robert Parry who writes in his latest article.

    <h2>[Parry:] "So, you have a large number of Americans who have really reached that point that they believe the propaganda that they get from the conservative media. And that has changed American politics dramatically."</h2>

    Studying neuro realms it is clear that a person's brain is built in substance, or "remodeled and added-on," by the sensory stuff of existence, and experience. Which goes for our virtual TV diet, too: veritably, actually, truly, materially, factually, really brick-by-brick assembling walls of our brain in our brain.

    Relating to the subject of my study: when the brain changes, how our politics changes.

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    "Cowboys good. Girlie Men bad." George W Bush

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    Thanks for making me smile Anne. They are too few and far between these days.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    Web pieces on election system issues are being compiled at and is planning a massive FOIA study of election results to detect fraud.

    Election theft and reform will be discussed on Tvset this Saturday, 8pm on PDX metro cable channel 11.

  • karrie (unverified)

    We should pay closer attention to those song lyrics. There are some values there that we as progressives share. For instance, this woman does not need brand names - her sexuality and beauty are all her own. Screw the brands that try and make her think she needs more stuff. That, my friend, is a value progressives can speak to. (Remember the anti-corporate globalization movement? Remember all our talk about how brands manipulate consumers? What about our calls to live a simpler life?) Okay, Wal-Mart is NOT a viable alternative. But do you see a place to start? Because I do. We can start with this: a shared value that our worth as human beings does not come from corporations.

    I grew up in Iowa, and I was often called white trash as a kid. I remember my grandmother getting government cheese and sharing it with us. I remember my parents whispering at night about whether we had enough money for all the groceries, and how on earth they could pay the doctor bills.

    Later, I was the first in my family to graduate from college, and then I was the first to earn a graduate degree. And you know what? As progressive and leftist and punk and non-country as I was, I NEVER fit in with the other students at my university. What I remember most strongly was an overwhelming sense of alienation. Everything about me stood out: my clothes, my hair, my 50+ hours per week of work (while all the other students partied and played. Later, I was able to get enough financial aid to work part-time, thank goodness.) Those other students could get help from Mom & Dad when they wanted to work a non-paid internship or travel abroad. I had nothing. There was a long period during which rent was 100% of my income. I had no phone, and I had to strategize to get heat in the winter. I lived on the one free meal my hotel housekeeping job provided, as well as leftovers and condiments from the bar downstairs.

    Those other students claimed to understand class theories, but they could care less about a predicament like mine. They were too busy enjoying all their privilege - sipping expensive lattes and making plans for spring break. These students talked so confidently about issues like healthcare and the minimum wage. Inside, I was laughing. They had no clue.

    If you take another look at that country song, it seems to be a defiant response to something - the criticisms that come down from elites, no doubt. Many people dig in and fight when insulted or attacked. Something to think about. This woman has perhaps been attacked for being a stay-at-home mom with a baby on her hip. Or for not having the fancier things. So she fights. I think the real way to understand her is empathy.

    We progressives need to fight like hell. This dialog is a start. Reaching out to others is an even better start. Empathy and compassion will help us win.

    Thanks for the post.

  • karrie (unverified)

    PS - Also, please remember that many people in the Midwest and other areas are facing the rapid destruction of their livelihoods, and inevitably, their local cultures. As family farms disappear, and as housing developments and shopping malls move into previously open spaces, people are fighting to preserve what they can.

    This does not, of course, excuse the overwhelming votes to ban gay marriage (which, let's not forget, happened right here in Oregon, too. And if you look at all the statistics, there is no way Measure 36 could have won without some Democrats voting for it. That means that we Democrats need to realize that bigotry exists within our own ranks. How do we fight it?)

    But you know, I think the moral issues (and terrorism issues) tapped into other fears - the fears of losing livelihood and lifestyle, culture and landscape. The Republicans knew they could tap into fear in general, and they did.

    We have to appeal to something else. How about empathy? How about compassion?

    One way to reach out is to take this music seriously as a cultural expression and really try to understand it (not necessarily agree, mind you). We have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

  • BassBird (unverified)

    Maybe try making an HONEST attempt at understanding rural americain folks. This is basiclly a list of the reasons you find them to be "Unrefined".

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    That'd be easier, BassBird, if the true 'understanding' of rural America wasn't hidden under the twin layers of Country Music Megaindustry and Religio-Fascist Indoctrination.

    Maybe rural folk can even do their part to help us understand them - for example, help me with this question:

    You live where you live so that your community would be small, or so that you could have lots of land (thereby also putting acres and sometimes miles between you and your neighbors) for a constructive purpose like farming or ranching, yes or no?

    So then, if gays want to get recognized as married (with all the rights that come with it), that affects YOU directly, how? From your front porch, can you see people "living in sin?"

    Besides, Anne's post didn't constitute an 'understanding,' but rather an attempt at such, with observations. Those could have been construed as humorous. Your mileage may vary.

  • JACK PEEK (unverified)

    Dear ANNIE: Your post was an attempt at "humor" RIGHT?

    The words were a real eye-opener as too why you "poor, now in the minority blues lost.

    Tolerence, I hear that spouted all the time, GUESS YOU MISSED THAT.

    Diversity, I really know you missed there too.

    The AMERICAN COWBOY.... lets see, always faithful to his horse, his dog, (here's the good part) his wife, ONE MAN, ONE WOMAN, you know, not the prrrrrrogggresive view.

    The AMERICAN COWBOY.TRUE TOO HIS NEIGHBORS, THE BEST FRIEND, THE HARDEST WORKER, (no entitlements) the first seeking justice without expectations of anything but a handshake to seal a deal, not fearful of "the John Edwards" of the world, because truth is a foundation, not a toliet too use.

    You and people like you need to listen to another country song..HANK WILLIAMS JR. "ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT!". But, your train left and you just don't get it.

    Lastly, in 08 SOME FINAL WORDS, ON DEAN, KERRY, THE BUBBA CLINTON'S(talk about trailer trash).BRING UM ON!

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